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The Mind and Body as an Aphrodisiac

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Aphrodisiacs have Cultural Differences

Cultural differences over time and between cultures within one time frame have played a crucial part in promoting and using aphrodisiacs. Many of these differences can be related to the differences in sexuality between cultures and how sex is treated.

What is presented here is a "pot pourri" of different cultural practices and stories in the use of different types of products and their claimed aphodisiac properties.

Aphrodisiacs are real. You can buy them or make them, and you are born with them. The history of aphrodisiacs began with the history of mankind. Certainly, the first known aphrodisiac was human body order.

Scent or the sense of smell is closely intertwined with sexual proclivity in the animal kingdom as most animal species use scent to determine the femaleís readiness for copulation. Scent was also much more important in human relationships prior to the advent of soaps, showers, perfumes, and the barrage of chemical odors that assault the human body on a daily basis. Scent is still important in human relationships, but it is difficult for humans to allow their bodies to obtain a natural smell that is attractive to the opposite sex due to social taboos and environmental interference.

Pheromones are naturally occurring chemicals that evoke a sexual response and there is considerable scientific evidence to substantiate the relationship between scent and sex. Yet, pheromones are but one segment of a broad range of reputedly aphrodisiac substances.

The body of knowledge about aphrodisiacs is substantial but not well positioned in the scientific community. There are several reasons for this lack of clear-cut scientific evidence. To begin with, the scientific community has a long history of steering clear of subjects involving sex. Masters and Johnson and the Kinsey Reports may have broken the ice, but sex research is still socially taboo.

Just recently, at an international conference on female sexual dysfunction, scientists and medical experts broke new ground by admitting that there really was such a thing as sexual dysfunction and many were surprised to discover that there was a clear lack of scientific knowledge about female sexual organs.

This resistance may never disappear in western societies; however, the lack of scientific evidence in this instance is more a result of a lack of scientific research than a failing on the part of the subjects under scrutiny.

Another reason for the lack of scientific research about aphrodisiacs is due to the sensitive nature of the subject. By definition science is sterile, clinical, and controlled. Human sexual response is none of those things and even when there are eager scientists and willing volunteers, the controlled nature of a laboratory experiment tends to nullify or change the outcome of the possible results. There are social limits to the kinds of sexual experiments that most research facilities are able to perform on human beings. Most of the scientific knowledge that does exist about aphrodisiac substances has been obtained from research on animals other than humans.

Aphrodisiacs are a part of every culture and most of our current knowledge about aphrodisiacs is rooted in myths, folklore, and anecdotal evidence. For sake of clarity, anecdotal evidence is defined here as evidence that is supported by testimony that is not substantiated by clinical research.

When there is a sufficient amount of anecdotal evidence over an extended period of time, it can become a part of a cultureís " common knowledge". However, because something has become a part of a cultureís body of common knowledge does not necessarily make it true.

For example, at one time in the history of mankind, it was common knowledge that the world was flat. Of course we know now that this was not true. In Chinese culture, it has been common knowledge for thousands of years that acupuncture was an effective means of treating disease and controlling pain. For centuries, this common knowledge about acupuncture was denied by western scientists and medical specialists although today even most skeptics agree that acupuncture is a valid scientific concept even though no one has been able to scientifically prove how or why acupuncture works.

A substantial portion of the knowledge that exists about aphrodisiacs, evolved from Chinese herbal medicine. However, the Chinese and other eastern cultures do not have a monopoly on aphrodisiac substances. Every culture and society seems to have its own types of aphrodisiacs, some of which are specific to the plant or animal species that naturally exist in that geographic region.

Aphrodisiacs can also be internal to the species or external. Aphrodisiacs come in a surprising number of forms including animal, plant, food, and chemical substances. Many have no established scientific basis in fact other than in folklore, anecdotal evidence, and common knowledge. For some, the anecdotal evidence is quite persistent and a few even has some backing from scientific research. For example, some research has been conducted on Ginseng, Green Oats (Avena Sativa), Mauri, Yohimbe, Viagraģ, and a few others that suggests a strong link between these substances and heightened sexual response in both males and females.

The non-scientific evidence and knowledge about aphrodisiacs has existed for thousands of years. Most likely, some of it is true and some of it is false but donít expect scientists to clear up these questions anytime soon. Unfortunately, science and sex have never mixed well. Perhaps these subjects will always remain too personal. In the meantime, if you are thinking about using some type of aphrodisiac, use them wisely, carefully, and safely.

Most over-the-counter aphrodisiacs are generally safe to use in moderation, but like any substance, abuse and overuse can result in negative consequences for your health. And, if you have any kind of special health condition or are taking any kind of medication, always consult with your physician before ingesting any new substances into your body.

Fortunately, humans are born with the greatest aphrodisiac known to exist. There is an old saying, that although most commonly directed at the male gender, is equally appropriate to both sexes. The phrase, "you've got sex on the brain" is literally and scientifically accurate.

The human brain is more potent than the strongest drug and more powerful than any known aphrodisiac. The human sexual organs, the penis and the clitoris, pale in the shadow of the brainís power, creativity and total involvement in human relationships.

You may decide to use some type of aphrodisiac to rectify a sexual dysfunction, to enhance the sexual experience, or just out of curiosity. However, no matter how powerful or potent the aphrodisiac, the experience will always be less than it could be without a meeting of the minds and hearts of the partners involved, in any type of sexual experience.

The human body produces its own internal sexual stimulants in the form of chemicals, electrical responses, and glandular substances. Even though some external aphrodisiacs purportedly work by activating these internal stimulants, there is nothing more powerful than what already exists in our own bodies.

If aphrodisiacs truly do work for you, then the reason they work is because they are activating your own internal sexual mechanisms. True, some individual physiological systems may work better than others, but donít overlook your own sexuality.

Its ultimately your decision whether or not to lend yourself a helping hand by using aphrodisiacs. There may be compelling personal reasons why aphrodisiacs might be helpful or enhance an existing high quality sexual relationship.

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This site is for you enjoyment, education and entertainment. About Aphrodisiacs takes no responsibility for the efficacy or use of the claims and products suggested here. About Aphrodisiacs can be contacted through John Ryan, Wellington, New Zealand or email © Aboutaphrodisiacs 2001.